by Hannah Ranney, Lindsay Zimmerman, Jeannine Alsous, Gabrielle Lustrinelli and Tiffany Hyman
Special to Left of Center
The Little Yellow Artisan House in Lewiston offers a new spin on handcrafted jewels. Formally the Little Yellow Chocolate House, the oldest building in Lewiston reopened last month. A grand opening for this new business will take place in May.
This family-owned business defines uniqueness and originality.
All the jewelry is handcrafted. Each piece is of good quality and sold at a reasonable price, ranging from $20-$300. Business owner John Caputo of Lewiston makes the majority of the jewelry from scratch and his partner, Mona Terez, a Lewiston resident who rents part of the shop, creates the remainder.
Many different pieces are available, such as necklaces, pendants, rings, earrings and bracelets. A few of the sparkling gemstones include amethyst, sapphires, tanzanite, smoky quartz, emeralds, topaz, blue topaz, and, one of the best-sellers, needle quartz.
Gems set in sterling silver and custom orders are available upon request.
"Each gemstone tells a story," John said.
Like John, Mona creates all jewelry from scratch, including "all natural stones," she said. She specializes in brass, silver and copper. She will also make custom pieces upon request. She said her jewelry is a "symbiotic statement to art." From hemp jewelry to a kyotonite, a specialized stone, she does it all.
Manager Jessica Caputo, one of John's four daughters, explained how the family business started. "One day, my dad just started making jewelry," she said.
She noted her father is not a typical jewelry maker; in fact, he is the complete opposite. One day he discovered his talent for handcrafting jewelry. "He just laid our whole dining room table with gems," Jessica said. Her father added, "I just had a mechanical inclination with jewelry and fascination with gemstones."
He spends hours creating jewelry to create that one-of-a-kind piece for customers. John currently owns more than 800 gemstones and cabochons, which are polished and rounded unfaceted gems.
A customer will discover all the striking artwork on the wall in the store. Brenda Molloy is a digital photographer who creates all the exclusive pieces. She specializes in fractual, digital and fiber art.
John, Jessica and Mona are enthused to start a business in Lewiston, a small village with many unique shops. "It gives a great small town aspect," said Jessica.
Mona explained she likes the village because of the arts. "Lewiston has a lot of potential around the arts," she said. "It's great to support local arts as much as possible."
In addition to jewelry, the shop is pleased to announce the creation of handmade soaps. "All the soap is created by hand and without chemicals," John said. The soaps are organic and made of ingredients such as organic olive oil, flowers of calendula, lavender and chamomile, and herbs.
The business is also looking to add handmade chocolates over the summer and open an ice cream parlor next door, which is something the previous tenant did.
By September, John is expecting to receive his certified jeweler license. He will offer wire-wrapping classes. Wire-wrapping is a method used to create and design jewelry by binding and twisting wires together. He currently teaches wire-wrapping at Niagara University.
Adding unique gemstones to the wire creates pieces such as pendants and necklaces. John describes wire-wrapping as "enjoyable."
He will also be sundering and welding jewelry soon.
Opening up a business takes a lot of patience, effort and good work ethic. John explained the "good and bad" of starting a shop. "Working can be tough, but you do things how you want, when you want."
The Little Yellow Artisan House is located at 476 Center St., in the Village of Lewiston. Business hours are Thursday and Friday, 1 to 6 p.m., Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Summer hours will be extended.
To discover Molloy's artwork or to order her photography, visitwww.brendamolloy.com.